PLBC awardees for inaugural Crystal Bird Fauset Award, Women’s History Month

HARRISBURG, March 10 – State Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, today announced the awardees of the PLBC inaugural Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Award during Women’s History Month.

The award is named in honor of former state Rep. Crystal Bird Fauset, who was a Democrat elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1938 and represented Philadelphia’s 18th District. She was the first African American woman elected in any state legislature.

The honorees will be presented at a virtual event at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 18. It can be viewed live here:

I am honored to present each of these accomplished Black women with the inaugural PLBC Crystal Bird Fauset Leadership Award,” Bullock said. “From the Underground Railroad to the Black Lives Matter movement, Black women have led the way. Too often their contributions to society are minimized or ignored. That is why we named this award after the first Black woman elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and to any state legislature, Crystal Bird Fauset. The three women we are honoring embody the spirit of Fauset and have made a significant impact in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through their leadership in state government.

The honorees are former state Sen. Leanna Washington, D-Phila./Montgomery; former state Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila.; and PUC Commissioner Gladys Brown Dutrieuille.

Washington was a member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly from 1993-2014, first as a member of the House from 1993-2005, then as a member of the Senate 2005-2014. She represented Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. During her time in office, her legislative focus was on safe schools, welfare, health care, controlling overmedication, youth violence and domestic violence. In the House, she served on the Urban Affairs and Transportation committees. In 2001, she became the first woman to chair the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus.

Youngblood represented the 198th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1994-2020. Throughout her time in office, she sponsored and co-sponsored legislative initiatives dealing with domestic violence, anti-counterfeiting, employment protection for pregnant and sick employees and equal pay for equal work. She also sponsored legislation to create the Kinship Care Program, update the Newborn Protection Act and promote diaper-need awareness. During her time as chair of the Gaming Oversight Committee, she worked to ensure that Pennsylvania’s gaming industry remained successful in the generation of tax revenue, as well job creation for the Commonwealth. Before that appointment, she served as minority vice chair of the Children and Youth Committee.

In 2015 she was selected House Democratic caucus secretary and was the first black female to hold a leadership post in the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s history.

Dutrieuille is serving in her second term as a commissioner for the Public Utility Commission after being nominated by Gov. Tom Wolf in 2018. She was unanimously confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate. Prior to her appointment, she served as counsel to the Senate Democratic leader where she worked on many of the major utility issues that would come before the General Assembly, including deregulation bills for telecommunications, electricity and natural gas; handling of consumer terminations and reconnections; and energy efficiency and procurement.

The Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus was founded in 1973. The purpose of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus is to serve as an information and advocacy vehicle to advance the interests of African American, Latino and other people of color of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.